A TEENAGER cruelly bullied for being a “human snake” due to a painful skin condition that left her covered in scales claims she has been “cured”.
Shalini Yadav, 16, shed her skin and had to smother herself in moisturiser every day to prevent her skin from hardening.
She suffers from lamellar ichthyosis – a genetic disorder that causes her extremely dry skin to crack and shed.
There is no known cure for the condition but it can be managed with a series of medicated creams, often containing steroids.
But her family were too poor to afford her treatment and soon Shalini was unable to walk because her skin became so hard.
But doctors in Spain heard about her plight and agreed to treat Shalini for free – with the help of fundraisers from London.
Thanks to creams that slowed down the growth of her skin cells, her skin stopped shedding scales in just 10 days.
The delighted teenager from Nowgong town in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, has returned to India with a supply of the creams.
Speaking before she left for home she said: “I can’t wait to go back home and show my new face to the people there. Now, I want all those people to come and stare at me.
“Now, I am confident enough to stare back at those who stared at me and made hurtful comments.
“I can’t tell you how happy this makes me.
“It feels great. I haven’t got a new skin, I have just got a new life.”
Shalini explained how, in India, people looked at her like she was contagious.
“In India, nobody would come near me as they thought I was suffering from some contagious disease,” she added.
“Forget about common people, even doctors would not come near me. They would examine me from a distance.
“In India, whenever I went out, people stared with derision.
“They interrogated me about my illness and suggested various home remedies and treatments.
“They treated me like a specimen.”
A PAINFUL CONDITION THAT CAUSES THE SKIN TO HARDEN AND PEEL
Lamellar ichthyosis is a rare genetic skin disorder that affects less than one inn 200,000 people.
The skin cells are produced at a normal rate, but they do not separate normally at the surface of the outermost layer of skin and are not shed as quickly as they should be.
The result of this retention is the formation of scales.
Signs of the condition will be present at birth.
Babies are often covered with a clean membrane and have dark red, tight skin.
Often the eyelids and lips are forced open by the tightness.
Babies also can experience problems with temperature regulation, water loss and secondary infections.
People with lamellar ichthyosis often have trouble closing their eyes completely because of the tightness of the skin around the eyes and eyelids.
In some cases, the skin around the eyes pulls so tightly it causes they eyelids to turn outward exposing the inner red lid and causing continuous irritation.
The dry skin builds up so much that suffers shed skin on a daily basis.
Lamellar ichthyosis is treated topically with skin barrier repair formulas containing ceramides or cholesterol, moisturizers with petrolatum or lanolin.
Severe lamellar ichthyosis can be treated systemically with oral synthetic retinoids.
Retinoids are only used in severe cases of lamellar ichthyosis due to their known bone toxicity and other complications.
There is no known cure, but several clinical studies are active around the world.
Medics in India were unable to treat her ichthyosis, and her skin on her entire body was scaly and would flake off.
Shalini has shed her skin every 45 days since she was born and had to soak her body in water every hour – night and day – and smear himself with lotion every three hours to keep her skin soft.
A team of 19 doctors from the International Medical Academy in Malaga took on her case in Hospital Banus in Marbella on September 10.
Dermatologist Enrique Herrera said: “As you can see, we had a very positive response in just ten days of medication.
“I expect in the next two months she will be completely normal.”
Shalini’s two siblings Sejal, 15, and Price, eight, do not suffer the condition despite it being genetic.
Her father Rajbahadur, a daily wage worker, said: “Back in India nobody would touch my daughter but here people embraced her wholeheartedly.
“It was really overwhelming to see how much love and compassion Spanish people had for a poor Indian girl with no means.
“People were hugging her, kissing her and showering her with gifts.”
Shalini wants to study to become a doctor to help other people who face similar conditions.